Saturday, November 20, 2010

EDC trying to have it both ways

Reblogged from Neighborhood Retail Alliance:

Crain's Insider-in response to our rebuttal of its original post on the long delayed Willets Point/Van Wyck ramp report-now comes forth, courtesy of the serial prevaricators at EDC, with the following explanation for the egregious failure of the agency to follow the Freedom of Information Law: "Willets Point opponents, whose repeated Freedom of Information Law requests for the city's assessment of traffic impacts have been denied and called premature, were shocked to read in the Insider that the assessment is under review by state and federal agencies. A city spokesman says it is just a draft and therefore not public yet."

Hold on for just one minute. The purpose of WPU filing a FOIL request for the revised AMR was precisely so it could review the document before it was publicly released-as it did with the original flawed, and possibly fraudulent, ramp report. It was as a result of that successful FOIL request that we were able to flag the phony data submissions from the EDC consultants that led to the report's rightful demise.

Having lost its appeal of the original AMR FOIL, EDC and NYSDOT simply have no legal right to withhold the revision-and they know it. So, we are left with the simple explanation that there are ample reasons-none that comport with good public policy or the public interest-for the stonewalling. Chief among them is the fear of premature exposure of the agency's continual malfeasance in regard to this matter. What EDC wants to do is to truncate the review process and bum rush another flawed AMR through the state and federal oversight authorities without giving critics-and the impacted communities-adequate time to evaluate the revised ramp report.

All of which dramatizes the need for NYS DOT to initiate an independent evaluation of the feasibility of building Willets Point ramps-as NRDC, the Sierra Club, and eight community groups have asked for. It is our view, bolstered by the work of ace traffic consultant Brian Ketcham, that there is simply no way for these two proposed ramps to accommodate the 80,000 daily car and truck trips that the Willets Point project will generate-not to mention the millions of more feet of development going on in and around the Willets Point area.

EDC's secrecy, delay, and conscious withholding of data in violation of the law, makes abundantly clear that our suspicions are correct-and that this review process needs to be forcefully wrested from EDC's cold dead hands.